Frequently Asked Questions

For general museum information about COVID-19, visit https://www.vmfa.museum/covid-19/

General FAQ’s for Youth & Teen Studio Classes

Will programs in-person or online?

All Youth & Teen Studio programs are scheduled to meet in-person, however, changes may occur at any time. If the museum must cancel activities due to mandated restrictions related to COVID-19 developments, VMFA will refund registration fees for onsite classes. Please check online for the most up-to-date information, www.vmfa.museum/youth-studio.

What signs or symptoms should I be aware of prior to attending an in-person class?

No one should attend a class or visit the museum if they feel sick or have been in contact with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If students, parents/guardians, faculty, or staff can answer YES to one or more of the following questions within 24 hours of class, they should not report to the museum:

  • Do you or a member of your household have a new symptom that cannot be attributed to another health condition, such as:
    • Fever (100.4°F or higher) or a sense of having a fever,
    • Cough,
    • Sudden shortness of breath,
    • Sudden chills,
    • Sore throat or pain,
    • Muscle aches,
    • Headache,
    • Fatigue,
    • Gastrointestinal discomfort (nausea, vomiting or diarrhea), or
    • Loss of sense of smell and/or taste?

What should I do if my child is ill?

Please keep your child home. Any signs of illness or respiratory disease such as COVID-19 should be taken seriously. Consult your pediatrician for medical advice based on your child’s symptoms. Contact Visitor Services via email or phone 804.340.1405 as soon as possible to discuss cancelation and registration options.

Students may not attend an in-person class or visit the museum until they can answer the screening questions above or show a negative COVID-19 test result. VMFA follows the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines on when it is safe to be around others.
You can be around others after:

  • 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
  • 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • COVID-19 symptoms have improved (for example, cough, shortness of breath)

Complete CDC guidelines: When You Can be Around Others After You Had or Likely Had COVID-19

What if my child misses a class?

Please mark your calendars. VMFA does not provide refunds or allow transfers for missed classes. If your child is not feeling well or has symptoms of COVID-19, however, please contact Visitor Services via email or phone 804.340.1405 prior to class, if possible, and VMFA may waive this policy.

What if an instructor is unable to teach a class due to illness?

If an instructor is not well, VMFA will find a substitute or cancel the class. Any signs or symptoms or positive COVID-19 test will require two (2) negative test results prior to return, along with no sign of symptoms or temperature. If a cancellation occurs, participants will be notified as soon as possible and given a refund.

Who may I contact if I have questions regarding studio classes for children or teens?
Please email youthstudio@vmfa.museum.

What precautions is the museum taking to reduce the risk of COVID-19 for youth and teen in-person classes?

  • Youth & Teen Studio class sizes have been reduced to no more than 8 students per session (subject to change based on COVID-19 numbers and CDC recommendations).
  • Face masks, worn over the nose and mouth, are required for students at all times. Teachers will also wear masks and/or face shields that cover the face at all times.
  • Practice social distancing at all times. Studio seating provides at least 6-feet of physical distance or a clear dividing wall between tables so students can safely learn and create.
  • VMFA has implemented a “no contact” student check in and check out process, which includes a brief screening.
  • VMFA Faculty and Studio Staff are screened prior to class.
  • Only staff and registered students can enter the studios. To keep occupancy low, caregivers, siblings, and other visitors are not allowed in the studios.
  • Provide hand soap, hand sanitizer, disposable face masks, disinfectant wipes, gloves, and other PPE to students and faculty, as needed.
  • Clean and disinfect studios, equipment, and frequently used areas before and after class, as well as during class, as necessary.
  • Students will not share supplies or workstations. Any materials used in class that cannot be properly disinfected will be discarded or offered to students to take home.
  • For safety, all water fountains at VMFA are out of service. Students may bring bottled water from home or request a bottle of water, if needed.

What is VMFA doing to ensure that studios are kept clean and safe?

  • VMFA Housekeeping Staff will: thoroughly clean studios, restrooms, and high-traffic areas; restock supplies such as soap, hand sanitizer, and paper towels; and remove trash and recycling daily.
  • VMFA Education Staff and/or Faculty will use approved disinfectant cleaner, wearing disposable gloves, to wipe down or wash: check in stations, door handles, tables, table dividers, chairs, sinks and wash stations, counters, and reusable art supplies before and after each class, and as needed.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces such as workstations, door handles, and sink areas throughout class, when possible.
  • Use disposable products in place of shared supplies, when possible (e.g. paper plates instead of paint palettes).
  • Sanitize all tools and supplies that can be reused for another class, such as scissors and easels.
  • Require hand washing or sanitizing upon arrival and departure and throughout class, especially after touching face, nose blowing, sneezing, or coughing. Handwashing stations and hand sanitizers are available in all studios and restrooms.
  • Encourage students to clean up after themselves after each project.
  • Discard any leftover materials or items that cannot be properly disinfected for reuse; this includes artwork and other objects that are forgotten in studios after dismissal.

How can I prepare my child for an in-person class?

Please talk to your child about wearing a mask and what it means to physically distance. Practice healthy hygiene habits like washing hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds and covering their face with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing and coughing. Take your child’s temperature and check for signs and symptoms prior to class. (If they have a fever of 100.4°F, they cannot come to class.) Students should use the restroom and wash their hands before check in. We ask that participants wait patiently on a floor marker until it is time to check in. For youth classes, caregivers will assist with a brief screening. We also encourage families to visit the museum at their leisure so children feel more comfortable and familiar with the space prior to taking their first class.

What if my child doesn’t want to wear a mask?

Wearing a mask can be tough for some kids, but be patient. For younger children, use simple words to explain the importance of wearing a mask and caring for others. Set a good example for your child and allow them time to get used to wearing a mask. You may want to test different styles, if available, and ensure that their mask fits comfortably. Try to make wearing a mask fun by letting your child decorate or help make their own mask. Some children may embrace the idea of being a superhero and even dress in costume, or pretending to be an art conservator who has to wear protective gear while working with special materials.

Of course, we recognize that some students may have medical conditions or that wearing a mask may be too challenging. In these cases, we recommend wearing a face shield.

Disposable face masks and face shields (youth and adult sizes) are available in the studios, if needed.

What is the check in process like?

VMFA has implemented a “no contact” check in process. Upon arriving, we ask that families practice     6-feet physical distancing and wait patiently on a floor marker to be checked in. Staff will walk around or have you approach the sign in station to verbally confirm registration and conduct a brief COVID-19 screening. The screening includes questions about symptoms along with a voluntary, touchless forehead temperature check.

Will temperature checks be conducted at VMFA?

Yes, for youth and teens enrolled in classes (and their teachers), a voluntary, touchless forehead temperature check will be conducted during check in. Otherwise, temperature checks are not required for visitors, as studies have shown that it is not an accurate enough indicator for COVID-19 and may exclude those with higher body temperatures due to medical conditions. Based on CDC reports, however, a fever is the most frequently reported symptom in children. Therefore, an exception has been made for Youth and Teen Studio Programs. A student or student’s guardian, however, may decline a temperature check due to medical or other reasons without question.

Students with a fever of 100.4°F or higher and/or other signs of illness will not be admitted to class.

Will classes visit the galleries or special exhibitions?

Gallery visits are tentative at this time, or until social distancing recommendations have been lifted. As an alternative to visiting the galleries, teachers are providing visual resources for inspiration, as well as gallery maps to encourage students and families to visit the galleries after class or at their leisure.

What is VMFA’s protocol if a student or teacher exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 during a youth or teen class?

Anyone showing symptoms such as a high fever, persistent cough, shortness of breath, chills, sore throat, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, or loss of taste or smell, will be separated from the group and required to leave the museum as soon as possible. VMFA will respond to the situation as a “positive case” and begin taking appropriate action. Attendees and families will be notified accordingly, and cleaning protocols will go into effect. Classes may be suspended as a matter of safety, pending further details.

Should a student become ill, the parent or guardian will be contacted right away and instructed to meet in front of the museum or the Pauley Center (based on the location of class) and remain in their vehicle or stand outside at a designated location. Staff will bring the child to their vehicle or meet outside and check for a valid ID before releasing the child to their parent or guardian.

A student who is symptomatic cannot return to the program until they show a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of class, a doctor’s note, or have completed appropriate quarantine.

Should a teacher become ill during class, another staff member will take over duties and may relocate students to a different area. Caregivers will be notified right away and asked to pick up their children from the museum.

Note: If symptoms become life threatening (i.e. trouble breathing, severe chest pain, inability to stay awake, blueish lips), VMFA Security Staff will respond to the emergency immediately and contact 911, if necessary, while VMFA Education Staff contacts the parent/guardian.

What if there is a positive case of COVID-19 in a student, faculty, or staff member?

If a student, faculty, or staff member has a positive test result, all students, families, and staff will be notified via email within 24 hours. VMFA will follow all guidelines set by the Virginia Department of Health and CDC. Employees cannot return to work until they demonstrate two negative COVID-19 tests, along with no symptoms or temperature. Classes may be suspended as a matter of safety, pending further details.

Closure of the studio, restroom, and/or other areas where a symptomatic individual was present may be necessary for deep cleaning and disinfection. All items that cannot be disinfected and cleaned will be disposed of, which includes student artwork.

Please note, as the COVID-19 situation in Virginia continues to evolve, these safety protocols may change or be adjusted at any time.